NATURE. Media chief Martin Engelin shares his experiences of a wilderness activity with Nest 2.
In Sweden’s Nest 2 we have a tradition of arranging a long trip into the wilderness for a few days every summer.
This year our tour took us to the nature reserve of Glasskogen in Värmland, a wonderful Swedish summer’s dream a few hours north along the E45.
Our departure time was set at 08.00. Shortly after, I was in a car with a happy band of fellows, each one bringing a bag that was too big for the tiny vehicle we were travelling in. We were chatting and laughing like kids on our way to summer camp.
Finally we had a chance to experience a change of environment, with our normal concrete jungle changing into something considerably more pleasant. The first portion of our chosen hiking route went along a gravel highway and turned out to be a good warm-up for things to come. This was because we didn’t just have to struggle with our own heavy bags, but also took turns carrying our communal bag, which held tarpaulins and tools. An extra 20 kilograms for 20 minutes at a time.
Soon we took a turn to the left onto the walking trail and headed into the wilderness of Värmland.
We overcame every barrier in our way with the help of a few muttered curses and comradely jibes like, ”You’re breathing a little heavily. Have you been skimping on your running exercises?” Such comments were made by those who weren’t carrying the communal bag at the time…
In the afternoon we arrived at the spot where we decided to set up camp after wandering for quite a while and switching the communal bag many times. It was on the shore of lake Stora Gla, a place so beautiful it takes your breath away.
Here we made dinner and finally had a chance to cool off in the lake that had run alongside our route almost all day.
After eating and bathing, a comrade and I decided to try our luck at fishing. Despite not even catching an old boot, we agreed on the spot that this had been one of the nicest fishing trips of our lives so far. A beautiful sunset above a calm and tranquil lake is hard to beat.
A comrade from Nest 5 joined us when we were back at camp. He had quickly marched our previous route himself in order to catch up with us, although he hadn’t been carrying a communal bag.
After sunset it was time for us to crawl into our sleeping bags as the first day turned to night. The next morning we were woken by the sun shining directly into our shelter, which brought a significant rise in temperature. After a morning bath and some breakfast, we only had to make sure the place where we camped looked the way it did before we got there, and then we were on our way again.
The hardships of the day turned out to be the journey’s longest on foot, as we traversed almost 13 kilometers of very hilly terrain. We decided that the communal bag would now be carried in pairs with the aid of a pole.
At the halfway point to our destination, it was time for lunch. We settled down on a small bridge across a stream at the southern end of the lake, where we were able to sit barefoot and cool off in the stream while eating.
When our lunch break was over, the signal was given to begin marching again, and many hours later we reached our destination for the day. After battling our way through a Värmland jungle, crossing yet more swamps and making our way across even more mountains, we once again set up camp.
By now it felt like we had gotten into the life of outdoorsmen, and we made camp with impressive speed. At moments like these you truly see what kind of resourceful people there are in the Nordic Resistance Movement. When you see a problem, you solve it. And it doesn’t matter whether your assignment is fetching water for the group, making a fire or gathering firewood.
By the time we had filled our bellies, it was already dusk. We sat for a long time in front of the fire and told tall tales from both the past and present.
The next morning was the same as before: getting up, eating, packing and starting to walk.
The march for the day was a bit shorter, however. We walked for about two kilometers until we arrived at the canoes we had hired, which put a temporary halt to our trek.
After a two-day leg workout, it was time to improve our upper bodies by rowing. Despite most of us being from the west coast, we had almost no proper experience in canoeing.
But with a spirit of pure resistance oozing from our pores, we became quite good at rowing after a while. Our inbuilt arrogant male attitude of ”How hard can it be?” had once again paid off. Evidently, it wasn’t quite so difficult.
After just an hour or two, we had travelled six kilometers of the eight we had set as a daily goal. Feeling a bit baffled at how easy it was, we sat down for a coffee break on a small island. But it turned out to be a Pyrrhic victory, as the weather promptly changed from a soft breeze to a raging gale. We quickly decided to get off the island so we wouldn’t be stranded there. We fought against the waves for about two hours before we could get back to shore again.
The previously tranquil and pleasant canoe trip now almost felt like a struggle between life and death – a struggle in which Njord tried to heave us out of our boats with squalls and waves.
After a hard struggle we reached the shore and carried our boats along so we wouldn’t lose them. We decided to make a fire and try to dry ourselves and our marching kit as well as we could while weathering the storm.
We had now travelled our original eight kilometers, but the weather report indicated the day was going to be even worse, so we decided to cover the remaining eight kilometers once the lake had calmed down.
Fortunately Njord relented, easing his grasp on the lake and letting us pass with only a light headwind as a reminder of our previous undertaking.
When we came ashore, we set up camp in a bay just a kilometer or two from our starting point. There we could finally laugh at the day’s remarkable escapades.
Around the fire that night, it felt as if we were closer to one another than before. We had cheated death and come out with our banner held high. Poor fishing luck accompanied us here too, but it didn’t matter. We already felt like winners.
That evening we fetched our song books and sang our songs like thunder rolling above the lake. It was an incredible feeling on our final night together on an island that was a momentary paradise for us. The night was spent staying up late and talking about everything between heaven and earth.
The next morning we followed the same routine: getting up, eating, packing and getting ready. The bad weather we had been promised turned out to be absent, and the sun was shining over the tranquil lake.
However, this ended up turning the canoe trip into a competition, not for survival, but more of a comradely competition like a drag race, getting to one point, turning back and so forth. Once we had returned the canoes, we thanked each other for a fantastic trip out in nature, and thus ended this year’s summer adventure.
As I sit here writing this and recalling the trip, I can’t stop thinking about the incredible flora and fauna we saw. There were blueberries and raspberries wherever you went. For a city boy like myself, who buys 250 grams of blueberries for 25 kronor when there’s a discount, just sitting down and picking stuff from nature’s fine selection was an indulgence.
I’m also reminded of our first bath when we watched in horror as a grass snake was swimming just a few meters away, or that mink we saw running across the dirt road with a mouse in its mouth, the adder tanning itself beside our path, and those big footprints left by a bear next to the blueberries.
I will remember this experience for the rest of my life. Thank you, comrades.
– Martin Engelin